Tricking Astrid

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Chapter 40

“Wake up, slut.” Jay’s command brought her out of deep slumber.

Astrid stirred in panic, muscles protesting over the uncomfortable position. Her mind felt a little clearer, but that only meant acknowledging a demented, morbid and suicidal rapist had taken her captive. Letting out a low whimper, turned away, but he roughly took hold of her hair, forcing her head back.

Another candle glowed nearby since the last one melted.

How long had she been asleep or held prisoner in this creepy place?

At least sleep had been nightmare free because staring at Jay was terrifying enough. He pressed a straw into her dry mouth and without thinking drew in the liquid. Once more, an odd tangy flavor coated her tongue. This time she didn’t care. Being doped up allowed a dissociation to the predicament she currently endured.

“Okay,” he grumbled, tossing the cup aside where it clanged against the wall, “Our time is growing short.”

Astrid tried to focus, but the fresh dose of sedatives made it difficult. Jay yanked her upwards against a mildewed infested corner, spreading her legs wide apart. When he picked up a sinister-looking silver blade with an ebony handle, she gasped in horror. It was strenuous to remain quiet so silently wept, opening and closing her mouth with unsaid pleas.

He wasn’t in a good mood, snarling, “I should gag you bitch. You want to scream and beg, right? I know you don’t like me. No one does.” he waved a piece of blue cotton, “Open.”

“You turn me on,” she blurted in a desperate rasp, “Fuck me? Please? Give it to me!” her voice broke, hoping to prolong whatever he planned to do with the knife.

Jay startled at her words.

She only responded to what came naturally, having used her sexuality as a diversion for unwanted conversation or situations for so long. If he intended to rape her, why not avoid that nasty weapon by asking for it? His dark eyes widened before narrowing, holding the cloth in a clenched fist, but thankfully didn’t punish her for speaking.

“Do I?” he mildly asked, “I’ve studied you, Astrid. More than you realize. You’re behaving as you typically do when the pressure is on. Sex is your go-to, isn’t it? A slut to the end.”

“Double fucking standards,” she croaked, “I enjoy it as much as men do, only labeled a whore for it.”

“Men?” Jay hummed, “Like the one who raped you when you were young and oh so innocent?”

Astrid may have been semi-out of it, but her muddled brain latched on to the implied message.

NO.

Not possible! Was Jay referring to her childhood assailant? The kid had been older than Astrid, but she never saw him again after that horrendous day. The longer he stared at her with a knowing smirk, her mind broke a little more.

“Are you confused?” he stuck out his lower lip, mocking Astrid’s shocked expression, “Or are you wondering if I destroyed your virgin pussy until you passed out screaming for your grandmother?”

She shook her head in denial, “No! You didn’t—”

“Rape you?” Jay interrupted with obvious glee, caressing her bruised cheek, “Yeah, it was me. Surprise! I recognized you the moment I laid eyes on you. I even sent Remy to Bounce, hoping fate would once again intertwine our destinies. It did. What does that tell you, hmm?”

“No! You’re lying! Stop fucking with me! Let me go, you psycho!” she screamed, fresh tears splashing down her grimy face, ”Fuck you!”

Jay shoved the material past her lips, then held the blade to her neck. She flailed but stopped when it nicked flesh. He opened duct tape she hadn’t noticed and wrapped it around her entire head, ensuring the gag would remain in place.

Astrid sobbed, her body wracked with spasms, trying to catch a breath while feeling like she was in a waking nightmare. Her brain refused to subscribe to his confession, and the room spun.

Was the boy who took her innocence now going to end her life?

No fucking way, she seethed.

How did she not recognize her attacker after all these years? Had she repressed the memory so much that she forgot about his cold, dead brown eyes?

Jay couldn’t be so insane to what was becoming clear. The insidious plot he set into motion when she had been only eleven was unthinkable. He said he planned on Remy meeting her. That he knew everything about her! He concocted this sadistic conclusion for years!

“For fuck’s sake!” he growled in frustration as she struggled to breathe when the cloth clogged the inside of her throat.

She nearly blacked out from lack of oxygen before he ripped the tape off, yanking clumps of her hair out. He gaffed as Astrid gasp for air, tying the cotton over her mouth instead.

“Better?” he huffed, “So fucking spoiled. I guess you never imagined I’d return for you, huh? Gotta say, I was furious when I saw you again. Let’s review our tangled history. My parents had just died, and I lived in a shitty suburban half-way home for two weeks. Sweet, doe-eyed Astrid and I played together until I lured her away from the drunk adults. You were so innocent,” he hissed, glancing down at her heaving breast, “You kept it a secret! You’re such a dirty slut. I thought of you over the years. Did you ever think of me? I was the first and now I’ll be the last between these whore legs.”

Astrid blinked tiredly, scared to fall asleep in case he stabbed her. She wanted to see her death coming. Jay sat quietly between her trembling thighs holding the knife aloofly, his manic gaze communicating promised agony.

She fought the growing fatigue while matching his condemning glower.

She would not go without a fight.


* Ten O’ Clock *

Calder and Remy anxiously boarded the yacht to review the tapes taken from Jay’s apartment. If there was nothing worthwhile to see on them, they’d still be in the area where Arlo believed the man might be.

Arlo called Remy, saying the detectives in charge were understandably pissed, but took the allegations of Jay being behind Astrid’s disappearance seriously, raiding his home while others analyzed the discs. Arlo stressed for them to leave it to the authorities and warned they were on the way up the mountain. They avoided answering their phones when Laramy and Cal Sr. rang repeatedly.

“I brought Astrid here last month,” Calder said after he’d started the generator, “We heard a loud noise on deck. At the time, I thought you followed us. I mean, you did stalk her.”

Remy crossed his arms, “I’m paranoid. Not enough, evidently. But no, I never came here.”

“Someone did,” he persisted, turning on the small TV on a deep shelf crammed with odds and ends, “It had to have been Jay. Nobody owns VCR’s anymore, but I do... which creeps me out. Give me one. I’ll record it with my cell so we can send it to Detective Laramy.”

Nerves caused Remy’s hands to shake and he couldn’t hide it from the other man who nodded with silent understanding. Astrid was all alone with a murderer, and he shut his eyes as bloody images flooded his mind. Was she ever going to forgive him for bringing Jay into her life if she survived?

His eyes snapped open when Jay’s voice filled the cabin. He gritted his teeth and scowled deeply at the mans smiling mug.

“Hello friends,” Jay chirped, “This is a gift for Renold. To clear his name of murder charges.”

Calder glanced at Remy, who paled and shook in obvious distress. He watched him collapse on the bench sofa as the tape progressed. He aimed his phone at the psychopath on the TV, wondering if any of them would recover mentally when this was over.

“You will never understand why I tormented those lovely girls,” Jay smirked, “I can only say; Remy, I’m not sorry. You never had to try at anything! So what if you went unloved growing up? Boo fucking hoo! Life for you is an easy road with your good looks and charm.” his smile faltered, “Anyway, I tested your limits befitting an egocentric dickhead. One day after we ate breakfast, and you ran off with Arlo, forgetting me, I wondered if I could fuck and slay your girlfriends, and I did. Like that,” The psycho shrugged, clicking his fingers as if his confession was no big deal. “Your grieving never lasted long but setting you up for another round of heartache leaves me exhausted. Pretending to care really takes it out of a person. But… now I’m dead. So is the slut you knew would fall into my blood-stained hands. Wow, you truly are an asshole.”

Calder and Remy both gasped. Dead?

“No,” he refused to accept it, “He’s holding her somewhere. He might kill himself, but he wants to... hurt her first.”

“Arlo,” Jay’s monologue continued, “You were another easy target, and I mostly left you alone. Mostly. You always insisted you have a sister but unable to recall details because you were so young when taken away. I found her. I fucked her in every hole she had, then placed her picture in my house.”

Remy let out a feral growl, his fists biting into his palms, imagining snapping Jay’s neck. What kind of monster was this man? He hoped Jay killed himself but frowned, knowing Astrid would die first. He’d never encountered a more demented human being.

“Sometimes I wish I had a memento of my childhood. I may have become a little more normal, but I doubt it. There’s one individual I suppose became a token.” Jay chuckled to himself, before grinning ear to ear like a complete maniac, “Astrid. Damn, she was so sweet as a kid. You wouldn’t believe how much. She was the first girl I ever bent to my will, and I couldn’t stop after tasting the pure bliss it brought. It only seems fitting to end my life alongside the innocent soul who helped me embrace my darkness.”

Jay’s sick revelations abruptly ended, the videotape shutting off.

The men didn’t move or speak.

Did not question what they’d just heard.

Minutes ticked by.

“I know where he is,” Remy said, standing to his full height with purpose, “Jay told me about a place up in the hills after he came to the orphanage.”

Calder cleared his throat, realizing his eyes were wet. “Thank fuck. Let’s destroy this bastard and save our girl.”


* Eleven O’ Clock *

“Dammit, slut! Quit crying or I’ll mark you again!” Jay flatly warned.

Astrid sobbed harder as blood ran down both of her arms. He had slashed each side once, the blade so sharp only slight pressure was needed to inflict deep cuts. The drug didn’t dull the burning sting at all. Everything hurt so excruciatingly, she lost control of her emotions. She’d been so strong since taken, that the pain and humiliation made it impossible to repress her frightened tears.

He sighed impatiently, “I haven’t even begun to tarnish your flawless skin. First, I did your back. I like to work top to bottom. Let’s not forget that nasty gash on your melon.”

Astrid flinched when he brought the knife to her throat. She tried to obey. To do what he asked so he wouldn’t become angry and cut her but knew nothing she said or did would stop Jay thinking; why bother? He’s going to murder me anyhow.

“It’s time,” he suddenly stood, and she screamed behind the gag to not stab her. “Shut the fuck up! It’s time to record our fun. Would it kill you to smile?” he chucked her chin, “Be right back.”

She sagged at learning he wasn’t ready to snuff out her life yet, but the sickening dread of what he planned next never subsided. Not for one instance did she believe he would spare her. Not after revealing he slaughtered those other women. Her stomach roiled at the grisly news he kept tabs on her since childhood. How one man could be so deviously demented and never get caught was beyond her.

She stared at her bleeding forearms, blinking away fresh tears. Time was running out. How would he kill her? Or himself? Did he have a gun? She shuttered, picturing Jay stabbing her to death while saying this was inevitable. Her fate all along.

It was becoming difficult to breathe. To stay vigilant. She fought against the haze but wondered if it would be a blessing to let the fog of the sedative pull her under to escape his madness. To give in and accept her inescapable situation with a murdering psychopath.

Jay strutted to the center of the room with a tripod, placing a small video recorder in front of where she huddled on the bed. His devious smirk filled her with panic.

“Showtime!” He laughed down at her, “Got some choice words for prosperity’s sake?”

She shook her head as he retrieved his weapon and sat beside her, “Hey, don’t look so sad. You claimed you want my cock, remember? I intend on giving it to you before digging this blade into your soft belly.”

Astrid drifted in and out of consciousness from the narcotic and abject fear. Her body was trying to protect itself. Her mind began shutting down, whether she wanted it to or not. His words hardly registered.

Realizing how out of it she was, he set down the knife down.

“No needs for this,” he untied the cloth, “You are so doped up, I doubt you’re aware of much. Such a shame. I love the way you move, but I’m not against doing all the work.”

Astrid’s tears stopped. Jay was right. She no longer felt anything, nor did she want to.

He stretched her limbs out on the mattress like he would a doll, then bent down and licked her wounds, a sound of pleasure rumbling from his chest. He tried encouraging a reaction by sucking on her breast next, but she remained non-responsive.

“You really have a low tolerance for narcotics,” he sounded pissed, “Don’t pass out. I want you alert when I slice your nipples off. Your ugly face needs a makeover too. No open casket for little Astrid.”

She heard everything. Each violent and repulsive thing he wanted to do. It only made her retreat further inside. She screwed her eyes closed, and he crawled between her parted thighs to slap her. Over and over Jay struck her until she shrieked with renewed pain and strength, snapping her lids wide to witness his fury.

“You’re a coward! A fucking pussy!” she spat, “Beating a tied up woman! Fuck you!”

She gasped, remembering she accused Remy of the same gutlessness once. A shudder coursed through her exhausted extremities as his response now made sense. He told her to fight back, only she couldn’t! Remy might have been preparing her for capture, but he hadn’t anticipated the mind-numbing drugs rendering her incapable of turning the tables on Jay.

“That’s better,” he grunted, “Stay with me. You can take this and more because you’re a fighter. You’ve been my wildcat since the first time. Take it!”

He punched her. Blood spurted from her busted lips, and she whimpered, trying to wriggle out of his reach. He gripped her windpipe, stopping pleas that fell out of her mouth like prayers.

“Oh, yes,” he moaned, watching Astrid turn blue, “I could do this until you rise in hell bitch.”

She would die if he didn’t stop choking the shit out of her. When blood dripped onto his hand, he grinned wider, licking his lips at her distress. She flailed her legs uselessly as he laughed. Once more he pummeled her face, a crunch signaling he broke her nose. He finally released her throat, and she howled and convulsed as he hit her repeatedly until she blacked out.

The camcorder captured it all.

Jay stood, spitting on Astrid’s shallow breathing chest. With a shake of his head after admiring her still form, walked into the shell of a living room to retrieve the handgun. He peered through the slats of the boarded-up window facing the road.

Were those headlights?

Shit. Well, someone put all the clues together faster than he planned, figuring he had another hour at least. He dressed quickly, his smile never wavering.

Returning to the bedroom where Astrid laid unconscious, he cut the bindings on her hands, then placed the camera in a corner. With weapons tucked into the band of his jeans, he hid in the shadows to welcome their guest.


* Meanwhile *

Remy was in the middle of recounting his last conversation with Astrid with Calder when both of their phones blew up.

“Cody,” Calder sighed, “I should talk to him since I already pissed off my father.”

“It’s Laramy,” he held up his phone, “I’ll go up top and explain our plan. Hello? Yeah… I know we’re not cops.”

Laramy yelled at Remy for a few minutes, griping they were behaving like ignorant vigilantes. “If you allow me to speak,” he calmly interrupted the angry man, “I can tell you where you’ll find Jay and Astrid.”

A siren blared before it became muffled. “All right. I figured you’d lead us to the perp. I’m on my way to Sunrise Mountain and you two better be there or I’ll arrest you for obstruction.”

“We checked out a videotape.” Remy ignored the mans’ threats, “Jay confessed to everything. He also plans on killing Astrid and himself.”

“Was there a date or timestamp?”

“No, nothing. Calder’s sending a copy. When Jay talked about his childhood, I remembered his parents died in a house fire.”

“Okay,” the detective drawled, “I have people confirming that information. His family lived...” papers shuffled on the other end of the line, “Do you believe he ran there? It’s condemned property now.”

“Yes. I don’t remember exactly where the house’s located, but when he came to the city, he stayed a few weeks in temporary care. I think that’s when he first assaulted Astrid. When they were fucking kids.” Remy closed his eyes and took a calming breath, “It all clicked after I watched the tape. He set us up! It was Jay who suggested I check out this club called Bounce, and I met her there. He manipulated everyone! Even my love for the woman he’s crushing before ending their lives!”

Laramy remained quiet for a minute, “Look, I’m getting directions to his former homestead as we speak. You and Calder need to wait. Do you hear me, Renold? You cannot save her by going in unprepared. Jay’s obviously cunning. There’s no telling what he’s up too.”

Remy hated him using his name as if they were old friends. “I can’t promise anything. You know what Jay put me through. The psycho’s killed every woman I’ve ever cared for! You tried to send me to prison!”

“It will be okay,” Laramy sounded like a negotiator and he scowled, “You aren’t in trouble. I’m here to help you this time around. If you unintentionally harm Astrid, you’ll regret your actions. It’s my duty to find her. Am I clear?”

Remy ended the call, done listening to people who didn’t understand what he was capable of. He wasn’t some fucking weak victim and headed to the car for his gear.

Calder climbed off of the boat as Remy loaded up with weapons, “What’s going on?”

He gave him a grim glance, “Laramy told me to stay here. He’s on the way but doesn’t want our involvement. We can GPS the area until he arrives and takes us along to Jay’s hideout.”

He nodded, “Why don’t I drive while you search?”

Remy dropped the bag back into the trunk, “Let’s go.”

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